2,040 sq km (788 sq miles).
1.3 million (2014).
652.5 per sq km.
Head of state:
President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim since 2015.
Head of government:
Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth since 2014.
220 volts AC, 50Hz. British-style plugs with three square pins are commonly used in hotels; you can often find European-style sockets (two round pins) as well.
A hypnotic blend of Indian, African and European influences, Mauritius might be synonymous with luxury beach breaks, but this destination will dazzle even the most discerning traveller, with its superb hiking, excellent mountain climbing and world-class diving.
The beaches are, indeed, noteworthy of praise. Encircling the island, they are exactly what the holiday brochures promise. But beyond its celebrated sands, native forests grow over the cooler central plateau, providing a home to rare plants and animals such as the Mauritius flying fox, which can be found nowhere else on Earth.
Back on the coast, the world’s third largest coral reef surrounds almost the entire island and has become a Mecca for divers thanks to its bountiful marine life. Hop out of the water and into local culture along the east coast, which is home to fine beaches and sleepy fishing communities. Village such as Petite Julie and Queen Victoria demonstrate the mixed Anglo-French heritage of the country, and it is in these sleepy outposts that you can hear sega music played in its most traditional form.
The northern regions offer the best combination of beaches, cuisine and nightlife. Further west, the capital, Port Louis, is famed for its Caudan Waterfront complex of restaurants, shops and casinos, as well as the colonial-era central market and Places D’Armes.
Dolphin safaris, rum distilleries and sand dunes add to the west’s appeal, though for many visitors the star attraction here is Le Morne mountain, which was used as a hideout by runaway slaves. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this rugged outcrop has become synonymous with the struggle for freedom.
Friendly, welcoming and unremittingly beautiful, Mauritius offers not only fantastic weather and exquisite beaches, but also a distinct cultural identity that is well worth exploring.
Last updated: 19 October 2015
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. ‘We’ refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Petty crime is common. Take care of bags and valuables in popular tourist areas including Port Louis, Grand Baie and Flic en Flac. Use a hotel safe, where practical. Keep copies of important documents, including passports, separately.
Make sure accommodation and hotel rooms are secure. Avoid renting accommodation that isn’t registered with the Ministry of Tourism.
Most crime is non-violent, but weapons have been used in some burglaries. Although uncommon, there have been some instances of sexual assault. Avoid walking alone at night on beaches or in poorly lit areas especially in the back streets of the business district of Port Louis.
There have been local media reports of street robberies near or at ATMs. Take extra care when withdrawing cash.
In 2011, an Irish tourist was murdered in her hotel room at a resort in the north of the Island. Incidents like this are very rare, but you should remain vigilant.
Avoid doing business with street or beach vendors. Make sure water-sport operators hold a valid permit issued by the Ministry of Tourism.
Report any incidents to the Police du Tourisme (telephone: 213 2818).
You can drive using your UK driving licence, but you must have it with you at all times. The standard of driving varies and there are frequent minor accidents. Be particularly careful when driving after dark as pedestrians and unlit motorcyclists are serious hazards.
In August 2014, a young British tourist drowned whilst swimming with the Dolphins in Tamarin Bay. If taking part in such activities you should ensure that the operator holds a valid permit issued by the Ministry of Tourism, there are life jackets on board and the captain has a means to contact the Coastguard if necessary.
There have been attacks very close to the Exclusive Economic Zone (200 mile limit) of Mauritius and piracy is a significant threat in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, and has occurred as far as 1,000 nautical miles from the coast of Somalia. Sailing vessels are particularly vulnerable. The FCO advise against all but essential travel by yacht and pleasure craft on the high seas (more than 12 nautical miles from shore) in the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea and part of the Indian Ocean.
See our Piracy in the Indian Ocean page.